The Police and Criminal Evidence Act Summary

"Standard of proof is the level of proof required in a legal action to convince the court that a given proposition is true. The degree of proof required depends on the circumstances of the proposition. Typically, there are two types of proof; the balance of probabilities, this is the lowest level, and beyond reasonable doubt, which is the highest level. "' {2} The balance of probabilities is also called the "preponderance of evidence" and this is the standard required in civil cases. The standard is satisfied if there is then 50% chance that the proposition is true.

Beyond reasonable doubt is the standard required by the prosecution in most criminal cases. This means that the proposition must be proven to the extent that there is no "reasonable doubt" in the mind of a reasonable person. There can still be doubt but only to the extent that it would be "unreasonable" to assume the falsity of the proposition. {2} In the cases where the legal burden of proof is placed on the defendant, it is of a lower standard than applies when the burden is on the prosecution.

The defendant need only establish his defence 'on the balance of probabilities'- his claim is more likely to be true than not. Where the defendant has only an evidential burden, the standard is even lower. The defendant needs only to point to material which might cause the jury to have a reasonable doubt about his guilt. [1] In the case of Denzil, because the legal burden isn't placed on him, it is placed on the prosecution; the lower standard does not apply.

The prosecution can establish the defendants guilt on both the balance of probabilities -more likely to be true than not. And prove the defendant that the defendant is guilty of the crime committed beyond reasonable doubt. With establishing his guilt on the balance of probabilities the prosecution can use the glass fragment evidence, they can use this evidence to convince the jury the probability that the glass fragments found at the crime scene where the same as the ones found on the defendant.

However this is not conclusive, the defence can argue that the glass fragments did arrive on the defendant by him being at the scene of the crime, however this does not mean that he killed the victim, he could have just broken her window for some other reason, and the defence has to convince the jury of this fact and suspect any reasons for the breaking of the window. But because this case is a criminal case then the standard required should be beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecution should not be permitted to submit the evidence of Denzil's confession to the murder of Phoebe because the confession was improperly and unfairly obtained.

The situation in which the confession was obtained was inappropriate, because Denzil only made his confession under the influence of the police involved in questioning him. The police within the case stated to Denzil that they had found DNA evidence linking him to the murder of Phoebe, under this pressure Denzil then confessed to the police that he had committed the crime, even if he actually hadn't committed the crime. Prior to the passing of PACE, it was unclear whether under the common law discretion a judge was entitled to exclude evidence on the ground that it had been obtained by unfair means.

Some Court of Appeal dicta did suggest that this was permissible if the prosecution evidence had been obtained by the means of a trick, by misleading the defendant or employing oppressive or unfair means. [2] From time to time the courts still employ their common law discretion. Ognall J, for instance relied on the common law discretion to exclude some evidence obtained by an under cover police woman in a some what provocative circumstance at the trial of Colin Stagg. [2]

In the case of Thompson, Sinclair and Maver [1995] 2 Cr App R 589, Evans, LJ, addressed the issue of judges possessing the power to exclude any defence evidence in trials involving co-defendants. By a judge intervening in a court case to exclude evidence of one defendant might appear that there is a tipping of the scales in favour of one co-defendant. This is a serious matter, to exclude evidence that the first defendant wishes to call. Inevitably where the co-accused are running cut-throat defences, what is of advantage to defendant one will be of a disadvantage to defendant two.

A discretion to exclude a co-defendants evidence could create the impression that the judge, no matter how well intentioned, was stepping into the area, this is undesirable. [2] In Osman v DPP (1999), the search of Osman was held to be unlawful because the officers searching him did not give their names and station, contrary to PACE requirements. In O'Loughlin v Chief Constable of Essex (1998), the courts held that the entry of a premises to arrest O'Loughlin's wife for criminal damage was unlawful because under PACE, anyone present on the premises must be given a reason for the entry.

However not all cases have gone against the police when obtaining evidence is concerned. In R v Longman (1988), it was held that the police entry of a premises to execute a search warrant for drugs was lawful, although deception had been utilised to gain entry, and upon entering, the police had not identified themselves or showed the warrant. Relating to Denzil as it has been mentioned his confession should not be allowed to submitted as evidence against him as it was unfairly obtained by the actions of the police who hadn't followed the codes of PACE, and the confession may be untrue because it was said under pressure.

This evidence is inadmissible. Can Denzil's wife and/ or his mother be compelled to give evidence against him? 4) The competence of a spouse or civil partner of a defendant is governed by s53 of the 1999 Act. The compellability of a reluctant spouse or partner is governed by PACE 1984, s80. The defendants spouse is now compellable as a witness for his defence (s80 (2)). The spouse can also be compellable in some circumstances for the prosecution against the defendant, but this is only with specified offences.

These offences are ones involving a sexual offence, an assault, an injury or threat of injury against another person, where the victim is under the age of 16. {3} 'The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) is an Act of parliament which instituted a legislative framework for the powers of police officers in England and Wales to combat crime, as well as providing codes of practice for the exercise of those powers. The aim of the PACE act has always been to establish a balance between the powers of the British police and the rights of members of the public. ' {4}